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NPJ Digit Med. 2018 Apr 6;1:15. doi: 10.1038/s41746-018-0022-8. eCollection 2018.

Characterizing the clinical relevance of digital phenotyping data quality with applications to a cohort with schizophrenia.

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1Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA USA.
2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA USA.
3Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA USA.
4Department of Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA USA.


Digital phenotyping, or the moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices and smartphones, in particular, holds great potential for behavioral monitoring of patients. However, realizing the potential of digital phenotyping requires understanding of the smartphone as a scientific data collection tool. In this pilot study, we detail a procedure for estimating data quality for phone sensor samples and model the relationship between data quality and future symptom-related survey responses in a cohort with schizophrenia. We find that measures of empirical coverage of collected accelerometer and GPS data, as well as survey timing and survey completion metrics, are significantly associated with future survey scores for a variety of symptom domains. We also find evidence that specific measures of data quality are indicative of domain-specific future survey outcomes. These results suggest that for smartphone-based digital phenotyping, metadata is not independent of patient-reported survey scores, and is therefore potentially useful in predicting future clinical outcomes. This work raises important questions and considerations for future studies; we explore and discuss some of these implications.


Human behaviour; Scientific data; Signs and symptoms; Software; Statistics

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